Life’s Little Ironies is feeling a little sorry for Gaddafi. You could image the scene. Gaddafi is spending his days staring wistfully out of the window looking at the heat rays shimmering off the sand blasted, corrugated tin roofs, inspecting his fingernails while performing minute manicures with the tips of his teeth and kicking any limping stray tabby that was unfortunate to connect with his boot. Then Mo’tassim (Mo to his acquaintances) Gaddafi bounds in. “Hey Dad!” (Forgive the poetic license on the salutation, my Arabic is not quite up to snuff. He could equally have said “Praise, to our noble and glorious revolutionary inspiration, be-littler of infidels, victor of Lockerbie, harem dweller of beautifully blond armed bodyguards…..” and so on. These Arabic salutations can go on quite a bit. But no matter, we will stick to the short-form salutation for brevity sake.) “It’s a beautiful day for a drive out in the country. Do you fancy a spin in the Merc?” As he was finishing the sentence he was already salivating at the idea of stopping off at the Libyan equivalent of Mr Whippy for an ice cream cornet with two flake bars as befits an heir apparent of a sun-scorched, sand covered oil well.
Gaddafi curtails his preening for a second. As he slowly licks his lips in anticipation of his first root beer since the outbreak of hostilities, his dark hollow eyes betray more than a hint of caution and concern. “Weellll, I don’t know. Are you sure it’s…..? He breaks off while searching for a euphemistic phrase to describe their predicament. Mo cuts in “Sure” he confidently replies, “This Kulfi-wallah here,” pointing to the prostate man at his feet clasping his hands over his head “ told me he heard it’s a two for one special on Thursday” oblivious to the true meaning of his father’s apprehensiveness. As if to allay his fears Mo continues slowly, and in a lower tone to the one he had used throughout the preceding dialogue, looks to his left and right then craning his neck towards his father says “Our intelligence is very good” mistaking his father’s quizzical look as one of skepticism over the deeply discounted desserts rather than the American drones hovering overhead. “OK, OK we’ll go!” he says in a rather irritated tone. Sensing he has been a bit harsh he breaks into a smile lifts his arms up and beckoning says “You’re always thinking of your papa” The salutation was actually longer but I promised to keep this brief.
As they stride to the Mercedes it becomes apparent that Mo has invited the Defence Minister, who had been at somewhat of a loose end since his army had deserted. One thing leads to another, and in the end 20 cars and SUV’s full of dry-throated apparatchiks packed in like sardines head off in search of choc-ice nirvana.
What happens next is still subject to dispute and conjecture but we can be reasonably sure that Mo’s next words were “Are we there yet?” While Gaddafi senior’s were “What’s that up in the sky?” followed by a blinding flash, an ear splitting noise and the smell of burning flesh. He was probably a little non-plussed by this but cognizant enough to remember that his last trip to the beach was slightly more pleasant and much less eventful. As he scampered towards the sewage pipe I wonder if he allowed himself an ironic smirk as he thought about Saddam and Osama in similar dire straits. If he did let his thoughts stray it could not have been long for no sooner had he caught his cardamon-cum-goat stew-laced breath he was being hauled up to terra firma again, cuffed around the ear-hole and roundly sodomized by a bayonet. Then as bad luck would have it some stray bullets that had been whizzing around the vicinity finally struck home into the heads of Gaddafi senior, junior and defense minister as quick as flies to a dead camel. As a member of the Libyan Transitional Government later conceded, Gaddafi had a bad afternoon but Libya had had a bad forty years.
As I scanned the internet for news on this story I found an upload on YouTube that was removed almost immediately. You can see the gruesome spectacle of the last few seconds of Gaddafi’s existence. He is clearly dazed with sweat and blood pouring into his eyes, blurring his vision. A khaki-uniformed soldier raises a .357 Magnum; pointing it right between the eyes . Momentarily Gaddafi looks relieved. He lifts his head a little and says “Thank Allah, at last!. Is this my ice cream?